Oceans, seas and coastal areas are an integrated and essential component of the Earth’s ecosystem, and are critical to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Oceans provide opportunities for sustainable livelihoods and employment. They are crucial for global food security and human health, they contribute to eradicating poverty, and they are the primary regulator of the global climate. Thriving oceans are closely linked with our health, maritime security, peace and prosperity.
Despite this, oceans are continually degraded by human activities and threatened by climate change, marine pollution, the extraction of marine resources, and the destruction of coastal habitats and landscapes.
These challenges are daunting, but the international community has tools in place to confront them, from the international legal framework and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, to global and regional instruments, General Assembly Resolutions and the outcomes of major conferences – including Rio+20 and the SAMOA Pathway.
We now need to focus on implementation and move from words to actions. The upcoming high-level United Nations Conference on the use of the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development provides a unique opportunity to do so.
I count on national parliaments to play their full role, as part of their commitment to the 2030 Agenda and SDG 14 in particular. Let us work together towards sustainable solutions to reverse the declining health of our oceans.